Friday, February 04, 2011


I received an invitation to be a guest author/speaker at the "Read Alabama" event at Bevill State College this week. The event is scheduled for February 22nd  at the Bevill State campus in Jasper and it's a big deal.
I attended the finale event last year when Rick Bragg spoke - I was blown away! He is a phenomenal writer and speaker.
I've been really excited, but there's a part of me that's a little nervous too. I've been before large groups of people in the past. Jilda and I, along with our buddy Steve Norris played our songs at City Stages in Birmingham and there were thousands of people there. But many of them were milling about and a lot of them were drunk.
But this event is different. While there will only be a few hundred people there, they will come to hear me and two of my peers talk about writing. And they will be sober - the crowd I mean.
I can tell you this. When I was sitting alone pecking away at my keyboard, and dreaming of becoming a successful writer, I really didn't put a great deal of thought into all that it requires.
My success so far with my first book has been modest, but I've put in a lot of face time with the media and with the book buying public.
You have to be clever, interesting, funny, and have the ability to think on your feet.  You also have to sell. You have to sell yourself, you have to sell your book, and you have to constantly think of ways to keep your name before the public in a positive light for as long as you're trying to be successful.
I guess I always thought there would be "people" who handled that for you. Probably, if you're famous and successful enough, you do have "people" to do it for you.  But I have a feeling many of you are in the same boat with me so you better start giving some thought to what you're going to do when you get up to the plate.
So tonight I'm flattered and humbled by the invitation and I want to shine because it sets the stage for my next book which is due to come out later this year. I started working on my presentation today so if any of you know any good writer jokes, I'm all ears.


  1. That's awesome that you were asked to speak at the Read Alabama event. What an honor. I'm sure you'll be great. I wish I knew some jokes to share with you, but you seem like an interesting, funny person, so I'm sure you'll come up with some great stuff to talk about. Gool Luck.

  2. What an exciting event. You'll do just fine. Just be yourself and talk like you write. That's a win/win.

  3. You will do great!

  4. ah, fame. so fleeting. invitations to speak one week and on the street the next. you are so right. marketing is all important. the minute you stop marketing yourself, that's the minute they forget you. a lesson I learn over and over.

  5. I was always calm before a presentation, even to the company CEO, when I knew my subject. You know your subject, so you should have clear sailing no matter who is in the audience.

  6. Ken Owens2:35 PM

    "Peter and John replied, 'Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. FOR WE CANNOT HELP SPEAKING(and writing) ABOUT WHAT WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD.'"

    --Acts 4:19-20

  7. You need great writing jokes???? Isn't that an oxymoron??

    And isn't most writing a joke - to somebody at least?

    Rick, Rick, anyone who cannot see the humor in "solitary pecking" just hasn't been paying attention. :)
    P.S. Congratulations on the honor.

  8. Hear, hear! I'm looking forward to it.

    Writer joke:

    "I love everything about writing except the paperwork." -- Source unknown


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